Saturday, September 14, 2013

Why Kevin Rudd could learn a life lesson from Townsville business identity Rabieh Krayem – and CHEATED … Rugby League waffler Phil ‘Gus’ Gould passed over for prestigious title – it’s a scandal.

 The Astonisher continues its policy of making heroes out of villains and villains out of heroes …

Don’t ask, don’t tell .. Townsville Hospital’s chairman John Bearne’s curious  take on democracy …

… and a musical tribute to Clive ‘Hindenberg’ Palmer heading for Canberra.

All that plus quotes of the week, a Bentley ‘toon looking to the Liberals future, and other bibs and bobs in the nest at au.

So after all that, it now comes to pass that Labor has a long labour ahead of it before producing a bouncing baby leader to present to the nation.

The choice seems a bit dire … a choice between an unsavory little root rat with all the habits of a dog except loyalty ....

...  Bill ‘I don’t know what she said, but I agree with her’ Shorten, and a moon-faced little fellow ... 

with a name that sounds suspiciously like a East European version of the Mafia (‘pay up, buddy, or the Albanese will be around to break your legs’.) 

Both are trying to win the leadership by choking each other with cream. Indeed, if they appeared on the same platform together, the love would be so palpable that Bill may be tempted to demonstrate his affection in the traditional canine manner.

There can be no doubt we will be driven to tears of distraction by a media mistaking this minor matter a cause of great import to we, the great unwashed.

So we turn to this bloke of the Quote of the Week.

Crikey's Bernard Keane

'So what happens to Labor here if it has a party ballot that takes a few weeks? Who will lead the party? Who will assign shadow ministries? Well, who cares? The voters have just elected a new government. They don't care about the opposition and won't for some time. The only people who care are political journalists, who prefer to function in a well-ordered environment in which it's clear what everyone's roles are -- any departure from the norm and they start invoking the "chaos" narrative.'
Bernard Keane writing at

And what is it about being a mining magnet that apparently makes you fat - and a fathead.

Clive channels Kerry Packer in the quotes dept.

‘I’ve got more money than you’ll ever have. son’

Clive Palmer scores a guernsey with the irrelevant (but not to him) quote supposedly something to do with politics.

And he has also scored a brilliant musical reception in Canberra courtey of the mischievous Rocco in the Sydney Morning Herald. Suitably, it’s to the classic hickory hokum of ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’.

But fro all the blather first KRudd about 'new politics' and the various promises of a new broom from Wingnut and pals, The 'Pie is of the opinion that the usual cycle will continue, but the focus will be on the Coalition side. Bentley is of the opinion that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

And as for KRudd, he could do worse than take the lead from none other than our own business identity Rabieh Krayem.

A cool Krayem.

Not much has been heard from Rabieh since things went a bit pear-shaped for him – again – a few months ago. He has had ... shall we say ... a chequered business career, which includes his Humanis recruitment mob disappearing down the financial gurgler for $14 million last year, and the NQ Fury soccer debacle.

But Rabieh is a practical man who seems to know how to pace himself. His LinkedIn profile is typical of his new cool, laid-back style, listing his ‘current’ situation as ‘CEO relaxing’. Fair dinkum!

Rabieh Krayem
Managing Director
.   Relaxing
July 2013 – Present (3 months)
May 2011 – July 2013 (2 years 3 months)
April 2011 – May 2011 (2 months)
February 2009 – July 2010 (1 year 6 months)
July 2004 – February 2009 (4 years 8 months)

Maybe Rabieh and Capt Snooze could compare notes.

Other matters.

There oughta be a bluddy inquiry !! Phil ‘Gus’ Gould has inexplicably failed to be nominated for a prestigious new award which should surely have been his.

A group of boffins scoured the world for the leader in a very specialized field – they were seeking to establish the World’s Ugliest Animal

But you decide, maybe it was a close-run thing, when they passed over this ….

... and even this ....

… to award the top honour to this!

The Australian Blobfish named World's Ugliest Animal.
Judges obviously haven't seen Mongrel the Barrister at closing time.

See the video and story here. In fact, Gus didn’t make it into the list at all. Oh, the embarrassment of being tipped out the likes of the Mexican walking fish and even NZ's kakapo bird. But we love you anyway, Gus, how can we not love a bloke who announces to the world ‘I think it’s bad luck to be superstitious’.  

Other matters.

Harumph!! as The Magpie snorted in the comments area during the week.

Come the Revolution and The 'Pie is the boss, one of his first edicts will be to ban the improper use of the 'icon'. The word's lazy and jingoistic use, which is so immature and just plain wrong, has infected just about every media outlet and PR spinner in our fair city.

Perhaps you can get away with Castle Hill being iconic ....

ie 'a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something'

.... but everything around here, from Pricey's nose ... 

 to - God 'elp us, guv - the new cruise ship terminal

 - is dubbed ‘iconic’. Anyone for a bit of cultural cringe?

What stirred the old bird to his choleric rumblings was a media release from the Townsville City Council describing the hundred-year old bandstand in Anzac Park as 'iconic'. 

Nice and all that, but really .... 

A bloody bandstand?  A' representative symbol' of Townsville?

Oh, sure, the talk is of little else in the bars of New York, the bordellos of Spain, London's elite clubs and around the campfires in Mongolian yurts. The Townsville bandstand will no doubt soon feature in an episode of The Simpson's, and will receive a message from the Queen on its centenary (Sept 29th).

Just to emphasise the cavalier use of the word, the TCC release describes the bandstand as an 'understated' icon, which sounds very like an oxymoron … by their very nature, icons are exactly the opposite.

Of course, there is another dictionary meaning for 'icon' ie ....,

'a painting of Jesus Christ or another holy figure, typically in a traditional style on wood, venerated and used as an aid to devotion'

.... but this can no longer apply to anyone in Townsville, not since Tony His Radiance Mooney left his presidency (which other annoying citizens  insisted on calling the 'mayoralty'.)

But one bloke who may dispute the above statement is John Bearne, chairman of the Townsville Hospital Board. He's never had a problem with self-esteem.

During the week, Chairman John issued an astounding statement in defence of his CEO Julia Squire. Astounding because it demonstrated a lamentable lack of judgment is several areas which was alarming for a man who has wangled his way into his current position.

So much for democracy, and any committment to accountability.

In the statement, Chairman John has made an extraordinary response to the state opposition's questioning of the appointment of Ms Squire. 

Talk about overstepping the mark. 

Mr Bearne's defence of his CEO is in fact itself a partisan political 'attack'.
Hospital CEO Julia Squire

Ms Squire has what could best be termed a chequered history in Britain's National Health Service, (pointed out by The Magpie and even The Bulletin many months ago), where she was forced to stand down, leaving more than a $34 million deficit. Other accusations were made against her as well. There are two sides to every story, and Ms Squire may well have suffered from 'selective reporting' in the Queensland Parliament, and maybe did undergo adequate background checks to get the Townsville job. 

In fact, Chairman John addresses this in his statement. 

And if he had left it at that, there wouldn't be a problem, indeed it would've been - albeit a self-serving one - an eloquent and compelling refutation of the opposition's claims. 

Read the statement here.


But as always, there is a step too far, and Mr Bearne's statement in defence Ms Squire had a subtext which is way out of line in a couple of crucial aspects. 

First, being an LNP appointee, he not surprisingly takes a partisan view of how parliamentary democracy should work, and challenges the right of the state opposition to do their job, that of questioning various matters of public interest. 

Chairman John has used words (on ABC Radio) like 'unprovoked', 'disgusting' and 'not on'. But above all, he characterises the opposition questions as 'a personal attack'. He couldn't have bleated it better had he been sitting on the government plush in Brisbane himself.


Here's a newsflash, Dear Chairman. 

Ms Squire is paid very handsomely out of the public purse, and therefore her track record is a valid subject for examination. In no way did the opposition attack Ms Squire 'personally' and although perhaps lying by the sin of ommision, looked at her professional background only. In no way that The Magpie can find was there any denigration or comment at all about Julia Squire, the wife, mother and private person.

Second, Chairman John suggests the opposition 'should not of drawn on ageing information of questionable origin'.

Questionable orgin? 

Well, as a former Pommy, John, you will appreciate the high standing of both the BBC News and that of the respected industry magazine the Health Services Journal. They will be most interested to know that you suggest they are peddling 'questionable' information. Have a look for yourself, here and here before penning a nice little letter of apology.

And one will bet you hope 'ageing' information is ruled out of order in local public discourse, too,  just in case some nosey parker decides to exam your own performance at Townsville Enterprise and the Jezzine Trust.

Which brings The Pie to his final point. Perhaps it's a small error of communication judgement, but repeatedly using the familiarity of 'Julia' to describe your CEO in a matter like this is undignified, and as they say back in your home country 'poor form' at the very least.

But then, Chairman John, there are those who keep telling The Pie that you have a track record of being 'chummy' with some of your previous female staff.

On matters Astonisher, yet another week of delightful eccentricity from the paper that lurches from mawkish to moronic. Just why the paper – all papers for that matter - think we all want to see crying, deeply grieving people on the front page will have people stampeding into the news agency to snatch up a copy is beyond The ‘Pie’s ken. Maybe these sordid efforts should carry the masthead The Townsville Tawdry.

But the paper pulled two of its other favorite tricks during the week. A beat-up about alleged racist comments by Senator Macca Macdonald made to the front page purely because of a punning headline.

But the story couldn’t have been more wrong-headed, irresponsible or shallow, but that is perhaps not surprising, since it originated  from Bob Cut Snake Katter

In brief, Macca’s Facebook carried a two or three posts referring to Korean and Asian backpackers handing out HTV cards at a Tully booth on election day. The senator pointed out that when he spoke to the Koreans, they could hardly speak English and looked nonplussed when asked what they thought of Mr Katter.

The Katter camp jumped on the posts, but they had to travel all the way up to Cairns to set up someone to approach the media in faux outrage. The female KAP supporter - of asian descent, we are told -  who insisted on being anonymous (which would make her Ms Hu Yu), was suitably ‘deeply offended’ by the ‘baseless’ comments.

She trotted out a lot of no doubt other scripted tripe, lovingly reported without question by reporter Kate Higgins, who then trolled around for further outrage. She found it in the form off a Ms. Sheila Hawthorn, president of the Townsville Multicultural Support Center, who primly pursed her lips for the paper to opine ‘there was no need to reference the volunteers ethnicity’.

Really? Now that is a neat attack not only on free speech, but also willfully misses the point that the ‘ethnicity’ was the whole and correct point of the senator’s observations.

He not only had the right to make his comments (to which only professional 'ethnic racists' could take offence) but he also had a responsibility to say so regarding an opponent’s tactics. Because, me dear old chuckleheads, guests in this country do not have the right to take any part in trying to influence a process which is reserved solely for Australian citizens. That includes paying tourists to man the voting booths. 

Be interesting to know what would happen if the situation was reversed, and a couple of Aussie backpackers in Indonesia or South Korea, similiarly linguistically disabled, would fare.

The other matter that attracted the avian eye this week was the Astonisher’s on-going policy of canonizing cheap criminals, rebranding them as some sort of free-spirited pioneers.

In case you missed it in the blog’s crowded comments area, here The ‘Pie’s post on Thursday.

Credit where credit is due, so The 'Pie must salute the Daily Astonisher aka the Townsville Bulletin for its editorial consistency. After all, we want the self-appointed opinion leader in our community to stay 'on message' as they say, and not confuse us by being all over the place.

So The Pie applauds today's story about an apparently mildly deranged publicity-seeking graffiti artist, a story in which the paper follows its well-established policy of attempting to make criminals into misunderstood heroes.

The Bulletin has afforded this middle-aged wanker the full sympathetic treatment about his clumsy and childish scrawlings on white water pipes running beside the Bruce Highway at Yabulu. The wallopers got him dead to rights after a number of complaints from the public.

This dingbat claims his work is 'art' and 'freedom of expression', and apparently shares the paper's inability to distinguish credence from crap. Besides, said bullsh#t artist says he intends to plead guilty anyway, and thinks he will be allowed to use the court (and presumably the Bulletin) as a stage on which to peddle his fruitcake ideas about using public property as a billboard for private views.
The 'Pie guesses the magistrate will have other ideas .... hope he gets Peter Smid ... or Ross Mack, even better.

Keep this matter in mind when the Astonisher next starts hyperventilating about the scourge of graffiti across 'its' city.

But then again, the bloke is a southern blow-in from the Gold Coast who 'just had an urge' to be anti-social and do damage in the community. So maybe the story was done out of sympathy for the similar policy of the Townsville Bulletin's iditor.

But lo and behold, what do we get on Friday, the fair and balanced Astonisher manages to wring a follow-up story with the oh-so-predictable outraged reaction to its own impudent beat-up.

This deliberate beat-up/follow up ploy is akin to the kid who, having murdered both his parents, pleads for leniency on the basis he is now an orphan. 


  1. Paul Anderson of PimlicoSeptember 14, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    I hadn't even THOUGHT of the non-citizens-trying-to-influence-voting angle with the KAP how-to-vote story...but it did occur to me to wonder about how Mr 'Australian Jobs For Australians' Katter seemed to conveniently overlook one of his (supposed) most important policy planks when it suited him (if in fact he did). More generally, though, (and call me old fashioned, but) I didn't think it was racist, or even wrong, of Senator MacDonald to expect that someone working in Australia (in a position that involved interacting with Australians) would have a reasonable grasp of the country's official language. Well, please ignore my no doubt irrelevant musings, because as Stephen Fry's exalted alter ego Donald Trefusis would say, 'I'm old and silly'...but as he also said, 'it's only because I care, so very much'.

  2. Pie while you're musing about the Astonisher's journos' hap hazard use of iconic - don't forget pristine! Seems everything is pristine - beaches, grassland, wetlands, the environment and so it goes on. None of them know how to use a dictionary frankly.

    1. They use Hero like no tomorrow too.

  3. As a normal employer did Bob Katter have work cover and comply with the fair work act as well as keep staff records for 7 years and deduct appropriate tax for the part time workers he supposedly used?.I doubt it "one rule for the pollies" and another for business!interesting how they could never find John McTernans 457 application or approval or any proof that the labor advertised to see whether an Australian was qaulified.

    1. Anonymous - all good points and true but Bob Katter is not normal. End of story.

  4. This is from the Bulletin website this morning.
    Sharks beat Cowboys in controversial NRL semi-final
    NORTH Queensland have lost a heartbreaking NRL elimination final 20-18 to Cronulla on the back of a shocking refereeing blunder.
    Add Comment
    NQ in a winning frame of mind
    MIRACLE man Matt Scott says finals nerves won't be a problem for the Cowboys before tonight's National Rugby League eliminator against Cronulla.
    Add Comment

    Political commentator Richard Farmer said recently the main reason he was becoming disenchanted with newspaper was because they were out of date by the time they landed on his lawn.

    Well, Dicky old mate, nothing will change as papers more and more move away from print and increasingly move over to the reputed 24/7 instant news cycle, at least not if you use the Townsville Bulletin as your source of information. Plaudits to the paper for getting up a story quickly on the Cowboys loss against the Sharks - wasn't too difficult, it was a cut and paste of an AAP general report. But for a business that is supposed be ahead of the pack as far as information goes, how tired does it look when that up-to-date story sits directly above one written on Friday about the Cowboys being in 'a winning state of mind'.

    Makes the paper look reeeaaaly dumb.

    Nothing new here though. Almost every morning, the editorial is two days old - the one on view today, Sunday, is from Friday's paper. Check the columnists and we find Kathleen Skene's last 'Skeney' column is there, although she left the paper for the Gold Coast 9 months ago - we know this because the column is clearly dated January 5th, 2013. And The 'Pie doesn't wish to tempt vfate, but Amanda Gray's last 'Gray Matters' is still there, although she no longer writes a weekly column(or anything else if we're lucky), and hasn't done since June 21st, almost three months back.

    Stuff hangs around like a bad smell ... and you can't even wrap fish'n'chips in it.

    One wonders if the promised 'big changes to the website' will be a move across to a paywall, and the Bulletin is softening us up with deliberate sloppy, out of date tripe. Funny strategy.

    Iditor Lachlan Heywood is either an incompetent editorial leader (surely not!), or the Bulletin just doesn't give a stuff about lookiung so dowdy, tired and lazy. Which says everything about what they think of their readers. If they applied that attitude to their advertisers they'd be out of business quicker than they will be anyway.

    1. Always good and entertaining,

      Miss Lou.

  5. How do these no-hopers continue to get jobs?
    John Bearne and Rabieh Krayem (although we are yet to find out what new position his mate Bazza "Jump Tent" Taylor has 'arranged' for him with his new Liberal buddies) have mastermined more disasters than Osama Bin Laden yet they continue to be given opportunities to stuff up something else.
    If you add up the money Rabieh has cost other people - Cronulla Leagues Club, North Queensland Cowboys, NQ Fury and Humanis - he would be an ideal Labor candidate. He obviously is an expert at blowing away large amounts of other people's money.

  6. Any graffiti shouldn't cause controversy.I think the astonisher would like window etchings too...?

  7. Through experience once upon a time there would be postings 3 or 4 times a day,on stories in the Astonisher. Now days ya lucky or unlucky if its once a day,it seems the the internet site has followed the papers tacky ways.

    1. For Woodduck How about the Weekend Website can remain dormant from am Sat When shifts end and until pm Sun when shifts start (generally about 30 hrs)

  8. The Australian Blobfish has to be a John Elliot lookalike!

  9. If there was any doubt that the Astonisher has last all relevance, the Cowboys scandal (ripped off in the NRL finals two years in a row) has put that to bed.
    As of Sunday night the Astonisher had received only six "comments" to a pathetic attempt to cover the story on its out-of-date, poorly managed website.
    At the same time a young female Cowboys fan had more than 12,000 signatures on her petition calling for justice for the Cowboys and their fans.
    Bet the Astonisher has this brave young fan on its front page on Monday morning pretending to be someway involved in this massive protest.
    Pathetic, just pathetic.

    1. I agree. The Bully has never been an investigative journal. An analysis of all this season's games would show a 1 or 2 point loss and a check of the referees in those games would be an interesting statistic.

  10. Cracker MacDonald has certainly gone off with a big bang !

  11. Hooray, no more Kevin Rudd or Therase!
    Bye, bye

  12. Can't wait to watch tele tubby Clive in Parliament.

  13. I voted for the Liberal Party Senate ticket and i am extremely disappointed by Sen MacDonald hissy fit . After 20 Years In parliment i would have expected better . Now he says i"m having no contact and having a short break Thats not what i expected S O L indeed

  14. Well Tuesday's Bully is a classic complete with a victim mentality story from Simpo - Robbed again, this time on political field and Emma Channon's soldier dry humping story. How crass do these stories have to be and do the journos have to use these terms? Why not simulated sex or some such term? But dry humping? Bet the kids will just love that in school with the Bully's Newspapers in Education program.

  15. It may well be only a small item but T/B page 3 tda " Students up up and away ' Stairs first owned by Translantic Airways WHO WHO Who try Trans Australian Airlines (T A A ) who became Australian Airlines then Merg with Qantas .James Stong would be truely P...... Off

  16. From this week's latest gripping chapter in the Life and Times of Kate Higgins.

    'I have several friends who insist on using social media to count down to important dates in their lives that may interest them, but not necessarily anyone else.
    At the moment, I'm bearing witness to one friend's wedding countdown (this is interesting, I suppose) and another's appointment to get breast implants (this is just strange).'

    Well, Kate, they have no choice but to use social media - not everyone has a newspaper column.

  17. This generation are useless and feel entitled. Kate, are you really a person or a computer?

  18. 'Pie - when I read the news item in the mainstream media last week about the poor old Blobfish, I just knew that you could not resist a comment. I was looking forward to seeing who you would nominate.

    Somewhat surprised you would pick Gus (not that I disagree). I thought for sure that you would nominate "Professor" Clive Palmer. Apart from the physical similarities, he does have strange habits and live at a dark level where ordinary humans could not exist.

    Rugby League is a common theme in our thinking, though. When I first saw the photograph of poor ol' Mr Blob, I immediately thought of our very own Peter Parr. Man, someone gave that poor soul a good flogging with the ugly stick. Every time he came on the news, my television set would vomit.

    Mind you, ugly seems to be the new black with the Cowboys. I was at the airport some months ago when they arrived home from an away game. I was amazed by how dead-set ugly most of the team were. Yet accompanied by stunning WAGS, every one of them. Sorry to tell you this, guys, but real love it ain't.

    By the way, my toaster stopped toasting over the weekend. In the event that someone else may be interested the banal trivialities of my life, I might just write a column about Anon #2 from last week would say...ffs!!

    Woodduck - these are my arrrgh! moments.

  19. Talking about the budding jurnos at the Astonisher, Pie. What training do you need to qualify for the position? Do they have to tail along with a seasoned jurno to learn the ropes? If yes who's training them because there are only a few credible jurnos left. You know the ones that can write a bloody good column, that has all the facts is interesting and not about their own lives.

  20. I'm convinced WIN News Townsville must be vying for a banal news gong with the Bully and in particular Kate Higgins. Recent regular segment before the weather re adopt a pet from the RSPCA (feel good, community service, brand alignment and all that marketing crap that goes with news these days). This time the poor critters needing a home were not your abandoned fidos or purry pussies but rodents - in fact not one but two mice. I don't think WIN gets it. We're not country hicks' All we want is an informative and professional news service but I won't hold my breath.

  21. Has anyone else noticed that while The Astonisher relies on media releases and stories from somewhere else - anywhere else - to speed up its circulation freefall, both WIN and Channel 7 are striving for the award acknowledging the Best Effort In Making A Story From 1000km Away Seem Like It Is Actually Local.
    Fair dinkum, do they think we are complete idiots. Who cares about a cat going missing in Bundaberg, or a pensioner getting a bad deal in Chinchilla.
    The local media has turned into a joke, and all in the name of making more money.
    Please bring back someone who cares about local news - PLEASE!!!!!!

  22. Ah Grumpy, you worry to much, who knows maybe Hindenberg Palmer will buy all Queenslanders a electrical appliance if he gets into parliament. And Pie no more photos of Bill Bumkisser Shorten, the fool has a face ya just want to smack till his ears come loose. Have a good weekend.